Li Xianglang 李香蘭 (pronounced Ri Kōran in Japanese) was the stage name for Yoshiko Ōtaka 大鷹 淑子, a Japanese national born in Manchuria. She starred in the controversial 1940 movie China Nights 支那の夜 (also known as Shanghai Nights) where she portrayed a Chinese who appeared to be subservient to her Japanese lover. It affronted the sensibility of many Chinese during this period of the Sino-Japanese war. After the war, Li Xianglan was tried for treason. She was absolved after she was able to prove her Japanese citizenship. She was subsequently repatriated to Japan where she continued to have a successful career as Yoshiko Yamaguchi and later as Shirley Yamaguchi in Hollywood and Broadway.
Many songs recorded by Li Xianglan during her Shanghai period became evergreen classics in Chinese popular music history. Noteworthy was Tuberoses (夜來香). also affectionately called Fragrance of the night, Night Jasmine, Night Blossom and Evening Primrose. This song is timeless and has been copied and recorded by numerous singers including Teresa Teng and Rocky Teoh (as Jacqueline in English). Li Xianglan sang the movie hit China Nights but never recorded it. She was one of the “Seven great singing stars” (along with 白光, 姚莉 and others) whose music played a dominant role in the developing of the Cinema of China.
(夜来香 EVENING PRIMROSE)